Mark Sellar, the director HGT Innovations, a company based in Port Adelaide, South Australia, recognised a gap in the market and created a portable shade perfect for the beach.
Sellar says the idea came about from uncomfortable days spent on Adelaide’s endless white-sand beaches with no shade.
“I was always putting my T-shirt over my face – it’s a pain. I posed the issue to my team at HGT and we came up with the Shader, and then expanded it to make it an item that you want to buy”, he said.
The Shader contains UV protection within the material, and can be accessorised with a rechargeable solar panel, a dual USB charging port for phones and other devices, drink holders, a chill pillow and a detachable fan.
The basic Shader will sell for US$49.99 and the package including all the accessories will retail for $99.
The former reality TV show winner and businessman says he credits the initial success of the product to its 100 million views on social media.
“We go through and contact pages individually and ask them to post our video. By repeating the process over and over, and sending our videos directly to 100 different pages, we increase the chances of that snowball effect happening and ending up with hundreds of millions of views of our product,” he said.
Sellar also credits the networking and support systems in South Australia to the ease in which his start up could gain traction.
“I found that the low cost of living coupled with the fact that it’s easier to employ people here and the networking options available have made Adelaide an ideal place for a start-up.”
The product’s Kickstarter campaign has generated more than AUD$204,000 in pre sales, and with less than three days until the campaign ends, the Adelaide entrepreneur has generated $179,000 more than he expected.
“I knew that Shader had the potential to do anything. When you look at the market – there’s nothing out there. We really had no competitor. The feedback from the initial idea alone was massive,” he said.
Mark is headed to the United States this month to secure stockists in major vendors such as Costco, Dick’s Sport and Ace Hardware.
“The US distributors of our other product, Fantom magnetic door stop, presented Ace Hardware with the Shader and the response was ‘we want it’”.
The product is set to hit American stores in the coming weeks.
“If by Christmas we don’t sell at least $US15 million worth of stock, I’ll be disappointed.”
Sellar says he’s been in contact with Australian Shark Tank contestant Scott Boocock, the inventor of the Hegs Pegs, to assist in launching Shader in Australian retailers such as Target, BigW and Bunnings by the end of September.